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Letters: Death row vs. solitary

October 23, 2012

Re "Cruel isolation," Opinion, Oct. 18

Shane Bauer shines a rare light on solitary confinement in our prisons, a punishment that for those so incarcerated is truly a fate worse than death. Those who vote for Proposition 34 to end capital punishment, while absolving themselves of complicity in taking a human life, should realize that in many cases sitting on death row will be replaced by such torture.

It is because execution is so disturbing that California has mandated extra assurance that the sentence is just, including expensive automatic appeals. By ending the punishment we also end this added layer of judicial oversight that not only protects the destitute, but uncovers systemic defects in the criminal justice system itself.

Proposition 34 would create a $100 million fund to pay for stepped-up rape and homicide investigations, resulting in more demand for convictions. At the same time, the automatic appeals that expose miscarriages of justice would be gone.

Al Rodbell



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